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Kunar, Melina A.; Watson, Derrick G. (2011)
Publisher: American Psychological Society
Languages: English
Types: Article
Subjects: BF
In visual search tasks participants search for a target among distractors in strictly controlled displays. We show that visual search principles observed in these tasks do not necessarily apply in more ecologically valid search conditions, using dynamic and complex displays. A multi-element asynchronous dynamic (MAD) visual search was developed in which the stimuli could either be moving, stationary, and/or changing in luminance. The set sizes were high and participants did not know the specific target template. Experiments 1 through 4 showed that, contrary to previous studies, search for moving items was less efficient than search for static items and targets were missed a high percentage of the time. However, error rates were reduced when participants knew the exact target template (Experiment 5) and the difference in search efficiency for moving and stationary targets disappeared when lower set sizes were used (Experiment 6). In all experiments there was no benefit to finding targets defined by a luminance change. The data show that visual search principles previously shown in the literature do not apply to these more complex and "realistically" driven displays.

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